• Cut Day in Edmonton

    by Tyler Dellow • October 5, 2010 • Uncategorized • 33 Comments

    An aside: if you aren’t totally in the tank for the Seasiders by now, you are insane. Blackpool 2 Liverpool 1 on Sunday, in an incredible game. Just a fantastic team to follow right now, particularly if you’re gearing up for six months of taking your Oilers medicine. The back story is amazing, the manager is wonderfully entertaining and says things like “I used the word ‘useless’ because I didn’t think he had a very good game, and I put a horrible one in front of it.” Plus there’s all sorts of crazy cultural stuff to try and understand, like why calling a referee “[mysterious word] useless” gets you “brought up on charges by the FA.”

    I’m convinced that you could fill in about 98% of NHL rosters before training camp even starts and that the whole thing is sort of a waste of time as far as evaluating talent goes. There are basically two rules that can lead you to correct assessments virtually all of the time: 1) The guy with the one way deal stays and 2) when choosing between guys on one year deals, the guy in whom the organization has made a bigger investment doesn’t face waivers.

    With that said, the Oilers deserve some credit for the inexplicable decision to keep both JDD and DD. It’s reasonably tough for them to surprise me but this did. I thought Tom Renney’s quote on Dan Tencer’s show was a pretty nice washing of his hands of the entire affair: “Is it ideal for me? No. Is it ideal for the organization? Absolutely. I trust Steve (Tambellini) and his judgment.” !

    In any event, this will be interesting to follow. Virtually every team in the NHL has two goalies on one-way contracts; the only ones who look not to be are Justin Peters in Carolina, Nashville with an empty spot and then Washington with a pair of guys on two way deals. In short, the cost of acquiring 1/3 of the second worst goaltending trio in the NHL in 2009-10 would be pretty high, as someone would have to be exposed to waivers and teams would likely have to eat some money.

    I’ll confess to not understanding Steve Tambellini’s strategy in signing both of DD and JDD to one way deals but so long as it’s only Daryl Katz’s money he’s burning, so I don’t care too much. However, Lowetide has a post on some of the interesting players who are on waivers though and I’ll be somewhat frustrated if the Oilers pass up a shot at a free talent who might someday play in the NHL for them in order to continue deferring a decision between JDD and DD.

    I think, if I understand things correctly, that they need to put anyone who will be going on waivers there by noon today or else assign Souray in order to get down to the 23 man roster limit. Passing on an opportunity to have some guy who might have potential on an extended tryout in order to not make a decision on JDD and DD strikes me as pretty inexcusable unless there’s simply nobody on the wire who they could see being a contributor in two or three years. I would think that the odds of virtually any skater on waivers being a contributor to the Oilers in the future are higher than the odds of whichever of JDD or DD they don’t like now being a contributor in the future, barring a plan to carry three goalies forever.

    It’d be interesting if, once it’s all said and done, someone asked Steve Tambellini what he was trying to do with the three goalies. I find it all so bizarre that I assume there is some master plan I don’t understand but it gets harder and harder to keep telling myself that. It may not matter too much but it does provide us with a general sort of comment on Tambellini’s competence level if he has again misjudged the market for goalies.

    About Tyler Dellow

    33 Responses to Cut Day in Edmonton

    1. Vic Ferrari
      October 5, 2010 at

      How on earth did you become a Blackpool fan, Tyler?

      Agreed on the hockey stuff btw.

    2. Tyler Dellow
      October 5, 2010 at

      After the WOrld Cup this year, I decided to get serious about following soccer – I’d had the same plan in 2006 and let things slide. I support our local team, of course, but wanted an EPL team too.

      Anyway, I’m watching the opening weekend with my girlfriend and Blackpool plays Wigan. Everyone is openly expecting Blackpool to get trounced. We were kind of laughing at the roster – one of the guys on the field looks like a junkie and another one looks like he should be in a bar watching. Turns out those are two of the stars of the game.

      Then they win 4-0. After a minor setback at Arsenal (0-6), they draw Fulham at home and then beat Newcastle in Newcastle. Another bad day at Chelsea (0-4) is followed by a loss on a goal in the 94th minute to Blackburn. And now this.

      The coach is a delightful guy too. His strategy is interesting as well – he wants to play for wins and plays an attacking style. In a league where a win is 3 and a draw 1, I can at least see an argument for it, particularly if you have a good goalie.

      If you’re interested, even them getting up from the Championship was amazing – they finished 6th and won the playoff after being picked to be relegated by some at the start of the year. Just a cool story right now, so I’m cheering for them. Outside of the Chelsea and Arsenal games, they haven’t looked outclassed yet either.

    3. October 5, 2010 at

      Vic, you should see Tyler. We went to the TFC game last week, he’s a full on junkie now.

      ;)

      This whole three goalie thing is absolutely beyond me. Never in a million years would I have imagined this outcome when it came to cuts.

      I just don’t get it. I really don’t.

    4. October 5, 2010 at

      “[...], barring a plan to carry three goalies forever.”

      Isn’t it amazing how sometimes, by thinking out loud, the right answer just presents itself.

    5. Vic Ferrari
      October 5, 2010 at

      Cool. There’s just no hope cheering for a fringe EPL team, though. You’re setting yourself up for years of heartbreak.

      Say what you want about the cartel structure of North American pro sports … at least teams really can go from genuinely terrible to genuinely good in short order. Hell, three years ago Chicago and Washington played most of the game in their own end of the rink, and they didn’t have many guys who could finish when it occasionally did go to the other end. Now they’re two of the best teams in the league.

      That doesn’t happen over there. You’re locked in at the level you’re at, depending on team revenue. You hope, by the grace of God, that you stay at the top level, EPL now … because once you get relegated it can really spin sideways.

      I read on Pat’s blog that the TOR team is fun to watch. The goalie chant was funny stuff. Is there a culture of going to road games with TPC? 99% of the singing and chanting in English soccer games is directed at opposing fans, who represent about 1/4 of the fans in attendance, maybe more. They are usually separated by fences and security. If you’re a born troublemaker, you wan to be near the fence.

      Different parts of the stadium are known for their behavior and the types of songs they sing. Before internet, ‘covered-in-oil’ style commentary was available to the hardcore fans through pub-distributed, crudely produced newsletters. Genuinely funny stuff, mike Winters style irreverent cartoons, bitter rivalries between different sections of the stadium expressed … mostly between the standers (real fans) and sitters (pussies), but just generally. Hate for management at levels that make the Oilogosphere seem gentle and compliant. Just great stuff. It’s time warped now, but it was a wonderful fan experience.

    6. Dennis
      October 5, 2010 at

      Vic: drop me an email with the link for the scoring chances site for the 2011 season. You can email me or just post it here.

      Ty: You have a serious GF now? Jesus, it Has been a long time since we’ve been talking.

    7. Tyler Dellow
      October 5, 2010 at

      Yeah, I get that, which is why I don’t jump right in, although they’ll definitely be one of my teams. It strikes me that it’s almost like three or four different leagues. You’ve got the really elite clubs, which basically contest the title amongst themselves, the next tier who hope to sneak a Champions League spot, the next tier who aspire to the Europa League and then those who aspire to be around for another year.

      I’ll tell you though, the other way in which Blackpool is interesting is that they’re super tight with the buck. Like, intead of paying 15 pounds a head for a post game spread from Chelsea, they sent someone out to a Tesco. The players wash their own gear. The TV money in the EPL is huge – 45MM pounds or so, compared to 1MM pounds in the championship. While I’m still a bit puzzled as to how much they’re spending on players, I get the sense it’s not very much.

      It’s an interesting model for a poorer club in a small town I think in that it’d be interesting to see what happened if they just established a trust into which they poured the EPL money and lived off the income. It’s a fascinating league that way – in effect, you need to grow your business into one that spins off enough cash to afford the really elite players. If Holloway is good enough to build a team that can compete really cheap, one way to do that would be by building up an endowment that lets you buy better players.

      Or the Russian guy who owns a chunk can scoop the money off.

      Your point about things going sideways is well taken though. You can see it with a team like Liverpool that might be tottering on the edge right now. If they don’t right the ship quickly and a bunch of guys demand out in January, well, relegation seems unlikely but there might be no European money next year. And a weaker roster to boot.

      I was in Turkey earlier this month and we went to a Turkish game. I’ll have to post some of the pictures – great experience. My girlfriend was thrilled to go to the fourth best stadium in the world…until she learned it was the experience, not the stadium, that was fourth best. For example, there are no washrooms for women.

      The Liverpool stuff is just fantastic right now as a guy who’s loathed management in Edmonton for a while. They’re pressuring banks not to lend money to Hicks/Gillett. They’re running websites with banners like this:

      Spectacular. Learning about all of this has been a fascinating tutorial in some cultural differences between Europe and North America. They really seem to feel like the club is obliged to listen to them there.

    8. Tyler Dellow
      October 5, 2010 at

      Oh, as long as I’m on this – the songs that they sing are just spectacular. We stand/sing in the supporters section at TFC games generally and it’s a blast, although the songs are pretty clean.

      Some of the English stuff is mindblowing though. Taunting ManU about a plane crash? Singing to Liverpool fans about Hillsborough? You have to admire the poor taste of it all, if nothing else.

      Wayne Rooney has a kid named Kai and just had another incident with a hooker. The Everton fans were set to sing “No woman, no Kai” to the tune of “No woman, no cry” before ManU decided not to play him there.

      It’s a shame that the NHL doesn’t have a culture that encourages this stuff.

    9. Vic Ferrari
      October 5, 2010 at

      Dennis

      Earlier today I posted at IOF to let the scoring chance recorders know the new link. Hope it works.

      I’m impressed that you’re having another go, this is probably going to be a shitty team again. Good for the rest of us though, we can ignore the results after a dozen games, just look at the scoring chances … then plan the rest of out winter accordingly.

    10. Darren
      October 5, 2010 at

      Blackpool and Ian Holloway are treating the EPL experience as a cash grab. No one, not even themselves, ever expected them to make the EPL. So now, instead of immediately investing the TV money into the squad, likely failing and dropping back to the Championship and spinning its wheels with financial debt inccured, they have decided to keep the status quo.
      It works for Holloway, who spent very very little for a new club being promoted, and they have so far kept to their footballing principles. Play an open, attacking game and win or lose, have some fun.

      It makes them delightful to watch because so few new clubs in the EPL have ever taken this approach.

    11. Tyler Dellow
      October 5, 2010 at

      Darren-

      I like the business side of sport and part of what makes this so fascinating to me is the whole capitalism angle and how one should best go about handling one’s team on promotion.

      Some of what they’ve done looks awfully sensible to me, as someone who’s watched the Oilers. Spending as much as you possibly can doesn’t always buy results, particularly if you can’t afford the best players anyway. Once you start to get away from the top tier, in hcokey at least, it seems to me that you can be paying for fame instead of results: Ethan Moreau. Blackpool is fielding a team with some guys who have not, to my extremely uneducated eye, looked out of place in the Premier League – Charlie Adam in particular has been fantastic. They’re apparently not paying much for it either.

      As far as the cash grab goes, I know they’re investing at least some of it back into the club. Is it Holloway treating it as a cash grab or the owners of the club? My sense has been that the decisions about money aren’t really his to make.

    12. Vic Ferrari
      October 5, 2010 at

      Tyler,

      Where do you sit at the games? Do they have terraces? (banned in Europe long ago, but they’re awesome).

      It really is the road culture that makes English football different though. Lines of busses roll in with opposing fans, all cordoned off.

      On the subject of vicious chants, and I wasn’t there for this one, it’s second hand:
      Newcastle was in So’ton, and that area had been devastated by shipyard closures, plus stun by Thatcher’s destruction of the violent coal miners union, she invented global warming about that time as well. I never thought that would catch on, nobody did. It was the exact same process she used o bring in the pound coin.

      Nuclear power (Chernobyl had just gone wrong) and leaded gas (long gone in Canada by then, by Maggie gave it 15 more years in Europe) … these were good things now? Eff me.

      And the coal miners were killing us all? Best to fill in the mines with rubble to prevent unscrupulous future leaders in Britain from ever bringing on CO2 armageddon, no? The early enviromentalists were anti-global warming, but the way she used her power to influence academic funding was nothing short of brilliant. Inspired stuff, the kind of thing I would come up with. I still check in on the Margaret Thatcher Foundation every time there is a Global Warming conference. You should do the same, pure gold. But I digress …

      The Saints fans started chanting:
      What’s it like to lose your job
      Lose your job
      Lose your job
      Whaaaaaaaaat’s ….
      it like to lose your job

      I’m sure you can imagine the cadence of the chant and the in-unison finger pointing rhthym. Funny suff, but damn, that’s harsh.

      My next favourite is “You’re goin’ home in a Hampshire ambulance” … directed at Man U fans. Spirited stuff. Otherwise reasonable people I’m sure, but they meant it at the moment they were singing it.

      And my favourite from TV, an Arsenal v another London club, Tottenham I think. “Brian Robson, man of the match. Robson. Man of the match”.

      Brian Robson had been a great player in his day, but hadn’t deserved to be man of the match for years, yet it seemed like every game he played on the BBC he was voted man of the match. And here I thought I was the only one who noticed that was absurd. The best bit was that Robson didn’t play for either team … it was a boring game (if you think Arsenal is tedious now, you should have seen them then) and some fan had a good idea for a chant … it just caught on.

    13. matt smillie
      October 5, 2010 at

      When Blackpool played Chelsea this year, the commentator made a statement to the effect that the entire Blackpool starting 11 made less in weekly wages than John Terry…

    14. October 5, 2010 at

      As another sidenote to what Vic said I was in Chicago for one of the last games at the Stadium, the only game I ever attended there. It was a playoff game, game four, I believe, of a series against the Leafs. May have been 94 or 95. Felix Potvin had three shutouts in the series, both teams held serve and then the Leafs won game six in Chicago, the last game there.

      So we were there for game four iirc. An amazing atmosphere, the anthem and organ and all that, felt like the building was going to cave in. Amonte scored four goals and Roenick had the other, this was just about the time the Hawks were beginning the tailspin out of what Keenan had built there.

      So … the point of all of this is that on the way into the stadium there were guys handing out game programs for a buck or two, they were called “The Blue Line” I believe. It had been around for a while, sort of an underground game mag put together by a bunch of disgruntled fans. It was hilarious shit, a lot of potshots at Wirtz of course, a lot of references to his drinking, cursing out him and Pulford and whoever else was responsible for what was about to become an unholy mess.

      Great stuff.

    15. Darren
      October 5, 2010 at

      I am not extremely well versed in how Blackpool operates as they really have come out of no where, and therefore there isn’t a ton of financial details on them (Although I’m sure if you search you could find some).

      As to who has a say with the money, obviously the owners/shareholders have the last say on what they will do with the influx of TV money, and will/has given Holloway a certain amount in the kitty to spend. How he spends it is largely up to him however.

      I was watching a preview show on Blackpool and they were interviewing Holloway and he was talking about how difficult it suddenly was to sign anyone to play for him as the wage demands were so much larger than from the Championship. He openly admitted it was out of his price range and called it absurd. Blackpool are clearly being sensible with the money, and it’s a rare thing to see in the EPL.

      If you want to read more about club finances in the world of European football, I strongly recommend the Swiss Ramble. Terrific read, and extremely indepth. I would be shokced if you didn’t love it, given the nature of your blog.
      http://swissramble.blogspot.com/

    16. October 5, 2010 at

      When we went to see Spurs when we were in London we looked across the field and there was a triangle outlined in orange, the orange being the cops, the centre of the triangle being Portsmouth supporters. And when we left there were cops in riot gear, including mounted police with the horses with the eyeshields, the full gear. No trouble though. I work with a couple of English guys and one is a Chelsea fan, used to go to games in the seventies before they really cracked down. The way he described it is that entire sections would charge into sections to do harm. As he described it ‘you could smell the fear in the stadium’, it was unbearable because you knew what was coming.

    17. Tyler Dellow
      October 5, 2010 at

      John Terry seems like a bigger dbag than the Blackpool starting 11 put together, so that seems fair.

      No terraces at TFC, sadly. The south stand permits standing though and it’s the place to be – you stand for the whole game. TFC fans have a reputation as being amongst the loudest in the league and the south end really is happening.

      They seem to do the road travel bit once a year. I’m investigating an England trip in the near future and the size of the country really is mindblowing for a Canadian. There don’t really seem to be many roadtrips of more than 280 miles or so this year – London to Newcastle. It’s 430 miles to Toronto’s CLOSEST rival, in Columbus. There does seem to be a tradition of annual road trip though:

      My point, I guess, is that the small size of the country really lets you do roadies. It’d be like if every province had a pro league in which Edmonton would face off with Grande Prairie or whatever, with a Champions League on top of that. If the Oilers’ Alberta league games were on the weekend, I assume you would have this culture.

    18. Tyler Dellow
      October 5, 2010 at

      I’ll throw up a bunch of my pictures from Beskitas tonight. Great stadium and similar setup.

    19. October 5, 2010 at

      I’m sure I have told you this already Ty but the Hornby book is a fun read. He touches on that exactly. As a teenager he had years where he barely missed a game. The tickets were cheaper then of course but the ease of travel is unbelievable. Even if your club is in Europe you can just hop on Ryannair for absolutely nothing and go to the games. (I flew from London to Dublin for a penny. Plus twenty pounds in tax of course, but seriously. A penny.)

    20. Vic Ferrari
      October 5, 2010 at

      Pat,

      There are few things more frightening than horses in armour. The back of their knees were exposed as being vulnerable for a while, they covered that though. It’s like they’re wearing hockey equipment now.

      And all this said about English football, imo there is no sports fan experience that trumps an Oiler playoff game. Just out of this world. Your Chicago Stadium bit reminded me of that. Hopefully we see some of that one day soon, before they abandon Northlands. It won’t be the same anywhere else.

    21. Hawerchuk
      October 5, 2010 at

      Blackpool is hovering around 50% of possession (score tied) this season. They’re 12th overall, but they’re really indistinguishable from Spurs, Newcastle, Wigan, Aston Villa, Fulham, Liverpool and Birmingham. I was really impressed by their first game and I ranked them very highly in the SBN power rankings…And got laughed at…And my vote got thrown out…

      Now it should be clear they’re for real!

      Everton has a ridiculously good team this year, btw…Horrendously unlucky…

    22. Vic Ferrari
      October 5, 2010 at

      Tyler said:
      “It’s 430 miles to Toronto’s CLOSEST rival, in Columbus.”

      Good Lord, man, what are you thinking. Columbus is he Paris of the midwest now that they have a new arena district. Hell, take a week or two to explore the whole Nationwide arena area. You can’t soak in all of the ambience in a weekend, after all, it just can’t be done.

      Recently superjournalist David Staples went to Columbus on holiday and was absolutely blown away by he nonstop thrills provided by the cultural cornucopia that is the Nationwide Arena city focal point. As far as I know, this wasn’t influenced in the least by the fact ha Rexall is a major advertiser in Southam papers … Staples is a man of integrity who chose to go to Columbus on holiday long before he even realized they had a supertastic arena district that would thrill him to the point of involuntary orgasm. It’s just coincidence. That’s all.

    23. Adam D
      October 5, 2010 at

      In other news, the Calgary Flames recently purchased major ad-space in the Edmonton Journal. On an unrelated note, David Staples recently published an article heavily implying that Ales Hemsky is involved in a dog prostitution ring.

    24. Little Fury
      October 5, 2010 at

      As a Liverpool supporter, I can take heart in the fact that the only Premier League match I’ve seen was a 1-nil win by EPL newcomers Hull City against Pat McLean’s Spurs. The win was part of Hull’s fine run of form against London clubs that year and part of a start that left Spurs hanging near relegation. Fortunes change and now Hull’s in the Championship and Spurs are one of the 12 other teams in the hunt for a CL spot.

      Then I remember that Liverpool is quite shit and my hopes comes crashing down again.

    25. Darren
      October 5, 2010 at

      You know things are bad when you can only take heart in a game that has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on your own club…

    26. October 5, 2010 at

      Damnit.

    27. Dennis
      October 6, 2010 at

      I missed Vic:)

    28. Dennis
      October 6, 2010 at

      Vic: Yeah I figured this was another decent year to do the chances because if any of the kids really turn out we’ll be able to track how they did it in the SC sense.

      Thanks again bud!

    29. Vic Ferrari
      October 6, 2010 at

      Yeah, I’m really looking forward to seeing the new kids too. Not enough to actually watch preseason games … but still.

      Sounds like Smitty impressed in camp. A guy worries that he can’t finish, but then again he’s supposed to have a heavy shot, maybe he was just running in bad luck in the SEL, I dunno. And even if he is he new Dvorak, the Oilers could use a bunch of guys like that. Plus they usually come at lower dollars down the road.

      Hall says all the right things, he talks about winning puck battles a lot. But like Stamkos and Tavares, he is likely to be a scoring chance sinkhole, especially early, and that would be damaging considering he’s probably going to get very favourable ice time, just like those guys did.

      I’d like to see if Eberle can score from outside the paint. Until then I’m sticking with my Comrie comp. Hopefully they don’t let him cherrypick like Bure, or like young Mike. I don’t think they will though, they have better prospects to sell this time around.

      My guess is that we’ll see streaks of counting number success followed by streaks of scoring chance hell. My thinking is that they’ll believe their press clippings after a hot streak, then start betting on every hand for a while afterwards. Remind me to check that during the season.

    30. dawgbone
      October 6, 2010 at

      Hopefully they don’t let him cherrypick like Bure, or like young Mike.

      I don’t think they will. By my eye Eberle has always been pretty responsible against his peers in his own end. Really good at getting the puck going the right way. That will take time in the NHL for him but he’s got the right mindset for it.

      Get the puck out, get it in their end, get it on net.

      As opposed to get to the other teams blueline and wait for the pass.

    31. spOILer
      October 6, 2010 at

      Hopefully they don’t let him cherrypick like Bure, or like young Mike.

      Omark was trying this and he got sent down. I don’t think it will be acceptable from young Eberle either.

      Blackpool FC is the Wigan of this year. The undersog that made it good. And for some reason Lancky teams are heavily represented in the EPL.

      Blackpool going up though is going to revitalize their economy. A tourist town fallen on hard times will now be overrun by visitors every weekend there’s a home match.

    32. slipper
      October 7, 2010 at

      Are you still allowed to bring your own booze into strip clubs in Ohio?
      I was leaning on the fence on whether to vacation in Columbus or Minneapolis, even after Staples incredible piece. The BYOB is probably the deal breaker for me.

    33. rajeev
      October 7, 2010 at

      I tweeted as much about 4 weeks ago, which was admittedly after tyler publicly declared his seasider affiliation, but blackpool has got to be the most compelling sports story of recent memory. Shit is literally insane. And ian holloway is the most likeable coach out there today and perhaps any other day. I jut hope that someone good and capable is following that team around and writing their epic story that’s gonna make a fantastic book and decent movie one day.

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